Hotel Near the Border
I love a hotel that has a past. This boutique hotel was built in 1961, around four historical buildings. The 2-story main building sits where the city jail once sat. In 1886 the original building was converted into the old Laredo High School.
The New School
In 1916 the building was torn down and a new school was built. Now, the "new school" houses the main entrance, the lobby, restaurant, bar, ballroom and offices.
Finding the Hotel
We heard it would be tricky getting to the hotel... and it was.
Being a border town, we were warned to make the correct exit or we'd end up heading over the bridge to Mexico. It was indeed nerve-wracking. We worried and exited too soon, then eventually GPS lead us directly to the hotel's garage entrance. It looked a little sketchy down there. A garage guard checked our name on a list and moved the cones. After parking, I peered through the decorative wall and saw the bridge to Mexico, that we almost crossed.
Leaving... No Easier
Surrounding the Hotel
Behind the hotel was the Rio Grande and border. The historic San Augustine Plaza was just outside the front entrance. The lively square, with band stand and statues and traditional Mexican music, made us feel like we'd actually taken that bridge right over to Mexico. The sound of the cathedral bells chiming and voices speaking Spanish, made me forget we were still in the U.S.
The Tack Room
Also right across the brick road from the plaza, was The Tack Room Steak House. This elegant home from the 1800's was one of the four historic buildings that made up the hotel. We were disappointed to learn the well known restaurant was closed that evening.
From the front doors of La Posada, the lobby was down a few steps. Between the 2 sets of stairs I noticed an interesting image in the Italian marble floors. The Spanish Doubloon coin is evidently the symbol used for the hotel. The black and white ballgown was just one of many costumes on display.
It was January, but the hotel was already gearing up for the month long celebration of George Washington's birthday. Laredo has been celebrating the President's birthday with parades and balls and costumes, since the late 19th century. I especially loved the child's gown with the image of Mexican artist, Frida Kahlo.
Ghosts in the Garden
Supposedly there are ghosts that roam the hotel. One part of the hotel had once been a convent and supposedly there is at least one nun ghost on the grounds. We didn't see ghosts in black and white habits, but we saw lots of white, ghostly figures in the gardens and near the pool. There had been a recent freeze and the bushes were still wrapped in sheets.
The Main Pool
This pool view shows the 2-story hotel that was built in 1961. Architect, Tom Herring incorporated the old school and a few other buildings. Mr. Herring has used historic buildings in a number of hotel constructions in Texas.
Don and I explored the "compound" trying to figure out what was historic and what was added in the '60's. We passed the patio, outside the hotel's Zaragoza Grill restaurant.
We found another area of the hotel, with a pool and overgrown trees and bushes. The wind was blowing eerily and I could picture a nun scurrying by. It didn't look like this part of the hotel was in use.
Finding Our Room
The hotel had a maze-like feel, but we finally got it figured out. Our hall was fairly quiet, but maybe that's because the area we requested was not the top choice for other guests.
This photo shows just part of the spacious entry with bar area.
The sitting area had room to spread out. The brick wall kept things very quiet. Don was drawn right away to the balcony... with the view.
Bedroom and Baths
The bedroom also had a brick wall and beamed ceilings. The decor was a little worn, but all was clean and the price was so reasonable, I again thought I was in Mexico. Two bathrooms, bedroom, living room and bar area, for around $100.
It was pretty odd, I must admit. We watched the pedestrian bridge at 5:00. The line-up of people returning to the U.S at 5:00, nearly covered the length of the bridge. Many seemed to be sent down a caged-in walkway that lead to the building right beneath our room. Yep, we sat on our balcony and had drinks, watching the canine dogs and border patrol and the unhappy folks being detained below.
This is a close up of the bridge in the morning, with lighter traffic. It was odd to look at the river and see the U.S. side with no obvious wall. Our stay was on January 8, 2017, before the inauguration. There was a lot to ponder as we studied the pedestrian bridge, as well as the bridge that we almost drove over earlier. There seemed to be a traffic jam coming into the U.S., that never eased up.
After watching the sunset over our odd view, we headed to the hotel's bar and restaurant within the "old school". The restaurant was quiet at first.
Our bartender was a little frazzled with a large crowd at the bar, watching whatever big game was playing on January 8. Don and I wore our western jewelry and toasted to the history. Sadly there was no one at the bar to share this interesting experience with. They were all focused on the TV. We moved to the dining room and had a decent, but not memorable dinner.
I wish we'd had better communication with staff or locals or even travelers. There were some locals in the bar and some business travelers who didn't seem to care about where they were. Some good people encounters would have helped complete our overnight adventure!
My New Year's Resolution for 2014 was to start documenting some of the memorable overnights I've had in some very odd and curious motels and hotels. Like the adventures in my Dining Blog, I have learned to enjoy the surprises that happen when you step out of the comfort zone, far away from the well-known chains.
I began with a few entries recalling my very first home away from home memories from my youth. Then, I started sharing about some of the quirky and unforgettable motels, hotels and inns that my husband and I have discovered in recent years.
The best part about this challenge was making some lists with Don and getting on the road in search of new overnight adventures. I gave myself a 2-year goal to write up 90 stories and the goal was met. Now we just keep on adding!